Leslie Cox, OPC’s seminary intern, was honored with an invitation to represent our denomination at the UN’s Commission on the
Status of Women–that’s a big deal! So, before she finishes her time with us, I asked her to share some reflections on this experience and she agreed to write this piece for The Log. As we send Leslie on with prayers and blessings, let’s consider all that she will continue to offer the church!
Eastertide blessings to all,
This year the Racial, Ethnic and Women’s Ministries invited and funded twelve young women to attend the United Nation’s 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and represent the Presbyterian Church (USA), alongside Ecumenical Women. CSW is a function of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It is a global policy-making body exclusively dedicated to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women.
For a week our group of twelve attended parallel side events run by ecumenical and interfaith nonprofit groups attending the United Nations Economic and Social Council. For a week we ran, trying to squeeze as much in as possible. Our days began with 7:00 am worship and ended with group reflections at 9:30 pm. We didn’t mind. For many of us, this political season has been filled with tears and deep sadness. The CSW, however, felt like a victory. To be surrounded by ambassadors, faith leaders, and activists, the majority of whom were young women, was inspiring. It felt like something sacred, important, and life-changing.
Personally, I was overwhelmed to attend the LBGTQ rights panels. As someone who falls within this group, I was completely taken aback to gather alongside so many global brothers, sisters, and neighbors. I sat in on LBGTQ panels led by China, Canada, the Caribbean, the World Bank, Switzerland, Ghana, and Taiwan. I gathered their testimonies and walked away with their stories. Some were hopeful, discussing newly established laws that protected LBGTQ individuals. Some were heartbreaking. We faced the reality of hate crimes, persecution, even murder.
Attending these sessions filled me with what I can only name as righteous anger. Sitting alongside these individuals, I was reminded of the presence of the Holy Spirit gathered in those rooms. Walking away, I was reminded of the charge and benediction that people of faith are charged to uphold. God simply loves, and we who bear this likeness of called are called to love the stranger, the orphan, the widow, and the LBGTQ community.